Beauty Is: Women Who Inspire – Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor
For awhile now, I’ve wanted to write about the remarkable women I meet, know and work with. I know so many, and each inspires me.
These are women who show us what and how we can be in the world and how dreams are made true. They are the essence of beauty – they do and create things of beauty, they show us what it means to be ourselves and what we someday hope to be. So in tribute, I thought why not start with someone near and dear to my heart – who also happens to be one of the most influential and powerful women in the world.
Recently I worked with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor for a Today Show segment that chronicles her life story. It starts with a poor but bright little Puerto Rican girl who one day dreams of doing great things. The odds are stacked against her. She lives in the Bronx, being raised in the projects by her single working mother (who is obviously also a remarkable woman). She is Latina and, at the time, has few powerful female role models she can identify with and she has to compete with others who started life with privileges she never knew. But she is more than determined and perseveres, graduating as valedictorian of her high school class. She is accepted to Princeton University and then to Yale Law School. After law school she works first as an attorney, is eventually appointed by President George H. W. Bush as a U.S. Judge for the Southern District of New York and later to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals by President William Jefferson Clinton.
Then the day comes when she is chosen by President Barack Obama as one of the nine justices in the United States Supreme Court. She is the first Hispanic and only the 3rd female Justice. When I saw her on TV standing next to the president, I was so proud. And a little jealous that she was standing next to him and told her so. She said it was like being in a dream.
Today those projects she was raised in are named The Sonia Sotomayor Houses. She has been chosen as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world and been featured in countless books, articles and magazines. Next week her personal memoir, My Beloved World, is being published. Reviewers have said that the book is surprisingly candid and personal. “Sotomayor tells her fascinating life story with the hope of providing ‘comfort, perhaps even inspiration’ to others, particularly children, who face hard times” writes The Boston Globe.
I believe that among the most important things in life are honesty, integrity and kindness. For many reasons, I can tell you that Sonia Sotomayor is these things. You can feel the strength of her character and she is kind and genuine (but don’t kid yourself, she is tough, too – she is, after all, a United States Supreme Court Justice).
Writing a book so personal takes courage and a certain level personal awareness rarely seen in a woman of her stature. How lucky are we that her life is one of obstacles overcome and the dream of making it all happen – and she wants to share it with us too?
Doing her makeup, I was trying to rush to get her out the door but she calmly told me we had time and went on ask me about my life, wanting to make sure I told Jeff to get more sleep and that I set up Lucy with a college fund. So in additional to everything else, she is, in fact, that kind of person.
For the record, I used my trusted Lorac Eye Shadow, Laura Mercier Undercover Pot Concealer, Laura Mercier Mascara and Clinique Blush. The Justice prefers to look natural so I kept it light but did encourage a bit more for camera. So get up and watch for her on NBC’s Today Show this Monday, January 14 at 7a.m. EST. And then tell me how fabulous she looks!
You can also see Justice Sotomayor interviewed on the following upcoming shows:
60 Minutes Sunday, January 13 on CBS at 7p.m. EST
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Monday, January 21 at 11p.m. EST
CNN with Soledad O’Brien The week of January 21 (check online for updates).
Oprah’s Next Chapter in January or February (check online for updates).
Finally, if you’d like to meet her, she will be in the following cities for lectures and/or book signings over the next several months: New York, Boston, Chicago, Washington D.C., Baltimore, San Francisco, Houston, Austin, Los Angeles and San Diego. If you need help finding where, let me know. And if you do see her, tell her I sent you (via this site)!
We visit the New York Historical Society Children’s Museum each week. Sonia Sotomayor is featured in a section called “American Dreamers” – and here is Lucy, dreaming right alongside her.